Hello! it's been a while. Here I am, writing another story that has nothing to do with what I was working on xD I loved Hey Arnold! when I was younger and I always found Helga to be such a complex and interesting character, so I took a chance and wrote something. I hope you enjoy it =)
Disclaimer: I do not own Hey Arnold!; if I did, all the sequels would be out there.
Pairing: Arnold & Helga.
When it takes place: after The Jungle Movie & The Patakis.
The Last Letter
This is the last letter. It doesn't make much of a difference to you since, if you've read them all like I expect you to do, you've read them one after the other to try to find an answer, a reason why I have never written you back through this time. I think the reason is quite easy to see, the reason is that I am who I am. Something that simple, something that I keep repeating since I was a kid "I'm Helga G. Pataki". It's so simple, yet so complicated, isn't it? Well, it was complicated for me to get it until now.
I've read each and every one of your letters hundreds of times. True to my childhood self, I've even fallen asleep with them on my hands, as if that piece of paper could carry your warmth and keep me company as you would if you were there with me. I've written all the letters you've read until now every night after receiving yours, but I never got to send them. And I'm writing this one, this "epilogue" letter, now that I know you're coming back to Hillwood and that I'm determined to give you the letters I've written, because you deserve to know.
Another of the things you've asked me was: do I still love you? Of course I do, Football-Head! My love for you is the only thing I am certain ever since I was in kinder. I've been through hell and beyond in a dysfunctional family, with a dysfunctional mind, but the one thing that never changed (and if it did, it was only to increase) is my undying love for you.
Why did we fight? Why did we fell apart before you left? Because of me. I know, I know, you're probably thinking now "No, Helga, don't blame yourself"; but let's face it Arnold, I was a mess…probably still am, and even if I love you so, it took me so much effort to bring my walls down for you to come in. And I couldn't do it completely, that's why we fought. I needed to solve my issues first, I had to.
We're very different, you and I. You are a healer, a helper; and I am a wounded person, someone in trouble. But, you have to admit Arnold-o, I made you angry sometimes. I was able to make you really mad, wasn't I? Something that not everyone could do. I didn't mean to hurt you, my love, I never wanted so, but I didn't know how to get rid of my worst fear: what if you hurt me as much as the ones who were supposed to love me did before? I got used to Bob, Miriam and Olga to treat me like they do, but what if my messed up personality made you do that too? I couldn't stand the idea of it.
And that was my problem. I thought I couldn't manage myself, that people was going to hurt me because, down inside my walls of super strength, I thought I deserved to be hurt; because I wasn't good enough to deserve love. I was never good enough for anybody else so, how could I be good enough for myself?
Another of your questions: what has changed through this time you were away? Things actually settled down a bit. Miriam is attending AA and working, so she's more of a mom than she has ever been before. Olga is back home, trying to become an actress, but her success isn't as close to happen as mine as a budding author, so even if it may sound sinful for your goody-two-shoes' ears to hear, I'm a bit glad to be more successful than her, for once. Bob is pretty much the same, but he started paying more attention to things. Maybe because Olga is back, maybe because of Miriam's lucidness or maybe because of my success, I'm not entirely sure, but now he notices me more and cares about me. Who knew he had it in him, huh?
And me? How am I? I miss you terribly. I regret our fights and I need you so much it hurts. I will probably regret saying you all this, but you know how much more fluent my written words are than my ability to speak them up. I still love you, I miss you, but now I know that, even if I still think you're the most perfect human being I've ever encountered, I think I do deserve you. After all I've fought and worked, after all I've learned and lost, I do deserve to be loved. Hopefully by you.
I don't expect you to come running to my front door, hold me and tell me "I love you too" (who am I kidding, that would be my perfect ending). But I know the most normal response would be "I've met someone else, I'm so sorry". Even if that's the case (and I promise I'd do my best not to harm her too much), I thought you needed to know all this. And to read the letters that were meant for you, and for you only, just like all those poems that you only got to see some time after you kissed me in the jungle and told me how you felt.
With all the love of my heart, because it has always belonged to you,
Helga Geraldine Pataki
Arnold had to read the letter three times to get the full message in all its importance. The first time he just got too distracted by the "do I still love you? Of course I do, Football-Head!". The second one, he was shocked by Helga's recognition of herself and her issues; she had grown up so much. And the third time, he finally smiled.
He had spent the last hours reading all the letters she never sent him. He had arrived home with his parents at midday, a box waiting for him in the front door with the words "For Arnold, From Helga" in it. He didn't even unpack, just read, read, and read until he got to the last one.
He understood now how important it was for Helga to have this time for herself, even if it hurt them both so much. She had gone to visit him once, and with "visit" she had meant "running away from home" and he had known that at once. He had let her in and comforted her in all he could, even if she hadn't said much, but nothing had happened because she wasn't ready to explain her feelings back then. But she had said "I'm sorry, I always need you so much…". He had smiled and assured her that he was always going to be there for her. And she had gone back home.
It seemed that helped her a bit and now she had grown up. He was so proud of her. And he wanted to say that to her face.
He stood up, the letter still in his hand, and went downstairs in a hurry.
"Finally, he's out of his cave!" Phil said "Want some dinner, Shortman?"
"What? No, I need to go out for a while, I'll be back later" and with that, he left.
It wasn't a mystery to his family what he was going to do…or who he was going to see, so they let him go.
"Go get her, Kimba!" Gertie shouted, flyswatter on her hand.
Arnold arrived at the Pataki home minutes later, breathing heavily after the run. He rang the bell, only to find Big Bob behind the front door.
"Yes?" he said, frown on his face.
"Good…evening, Mr. Pataki, is Helga home?" Arnold wasn't even too sure how much time he spent reading, after all.
"HELGA! IT'S FOR YOU!" Big Bob shouted, not letting Arnold out of sight.
It didn't go by unnoticed to Arnold the fact that Bob called her "Helga" and not "Olga". Something must have really changed in the Pataki household.
"Coming, Bob!" Helga replied just as harshly as her dad, coming down the stairs "Pheebs, I told you…" and when she saw him, she froze "A…Arnold…"
"Hello, Helga" Arnold smiled, that smile that made Helga's heart melt in a second.
"Bob, I'm going out" Helga grabbed her coat, put it over her t-shirt and crossed the doorframe "I'll be back soon" she reassured her father, who seemed to be concerned.
After they both left the perimeter of the house, because Bob must have been looking through the window, Helga finally spoke.
"He cares about my welfare now" she said with a nervous laugh "What a change"
Arnold smiled honestly and raised the letter he still had in his hand.
Helga froze on the spot. The letter. He read it.
"I think there's something I need to do now" Arnold stated just before hugging Helga and holding her between his now strong arms "I love you too" he said.
She remembered the exact words she had typed herself some hours ago: "I don't expect you to come running to my front door, hold me and tell me "I love you too" (who am I kidding, that would be my perfect ending)."
"Oh, Arnold" she couldn't say anything more, hugging him back while those unshared tears she was holding back came running through her eyes all at once now.
"But there's something that won't be like your letter, you know" he whispered in her ear "This is not your perfect ending…it's more like a perfect beginning of a new chapter".
"Sounds good to me, Football-Head" she said between tears, not as strong as she wanted to sound but not caring as much for the lack of strength. She was allowed to cry in front of him. He was there for her.
They took some distance a few moments later, once Helga had cried all she needed to. Arnold caressed her cheek, her face becoming the vulnerable and romantic she was inside and only he could see. He leaned forward and kissed her, with all the love and passion he felt for her all along. Helga threw her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss, surprising Arnold, as her passion usually did. She was so caught up in the kiss that she didn't notice how her cap fell off, revealing the pink bow below it. She broke the kiss and put a hand on her head, trying to cover her bow…she kept it hidden since he left.
"I like your bow" Arnold said, pushing her hand away from it "I like your bow, 'cause it's pink like your pants".
"I'm wearing blue jeans, Arnold-o" she said between laughs.
"I know…but when we…" he started, but couldn't finish since Helga knew this story to well by now.
"When we were in kinder you said that to me," she started, putting a finger over his lips "after offering me your umbrella and being the only good thing that happened to me that day" Helga smiled "I kept it for you…but I didn't think you remembered".
"I do remember. And I still like it" Arnold took Helga's hand from his lips and intertwined his fingers with hers, kissing her again.
He was glad he was back home. And she was too.
The next day, Arnold visited the high school that he attended before leaving with his parents. He needed a week to be matriculated in class again, but he wanted to see his friends while they were in recess. Gerald complained about Arnold not calling him or seeing him right when he was back, but after seeing his friend's face when Helga came by, he instantly knew. Phoebe seemed to know too, judging for the conspiratorial smile she gave to her boyfriend Gerald.
Helga was harsh as usual, but didn't hide her happiness for seeing Arnold back. She smiled at him from the distance, waved and giggled, all in front of her peers. And wearing a pink pair of pants, no less.
"Yes, she had grown up." Arnold couldn't help thinking.
"What are you looking at, Pink Boy?" she threatened Harold waving her fists at him when she caught him laughing at her sudden gracefulness.
"Ok, she's on the way" Arnold couldn't help laughing.
Helga, still arguing with Harold, heard her cellphone ring, and was surprised to see a text message from Arnold, who was just across the room.
"I like your pants" it said.
She replied back at once.
"Is that a suggestion for something naughty, Arnold-o?"
Arnold, picking up his phone all the way across the room, laughed at her reply.
"Whatever you say, Helga" was his answer.
Once she received it, she couldn't help herself from typing one last text message.
"I love you Arnold. Just wanted to say it" She sent.
And instantly she got her response.
"I love you too, Helga"
They both stared at each other from the distance, knowing that they had now all the time in the world to say it when they wanted to.
I know, it's fluffy, but I think Helga deserves fluff after all she's been through, doesn't she? I think she needed a personal resolution first, to overcome her personal ghosts, and then things could finally change.
Well, thanks for reading and review if you feel like it =) I always appreciate a review.
Read you later!